One of the worst things about being a parent is the constant worry that you are not doing the best for your child. This extends to how you start them off (routines, dummies, breast feeding), their intellectual development (Baby Einstein videos anyone?) and their physical progress (if you have not yet come across something known as "tummy time" then be grateful as the midwives obsess about it otherwise your child will never walk... or something).
All this is not helped by the endless "experts" and new studies that the great and the good in academia seem obsessed with undertaking. This week, two reports have come out that have parents turning to drink in confusion.
The first, surprise, surprise, is on breastfeeding. Apparently rather than feeding on one boob first to empty it and then trying the other, we are now supposed to feed 10 minutes each side. Also, you are not supposed to feed on demand but feed by schedule every 3 hours or so. My question to the researchers is who on earth they did they conduct research on? When Eve is hungry nothing, and I mean nothing, will shut her up except food. If I make her wait 5 minutes, let alone another hour, she would scream the place apart. Secondly, no-one I know who breast feeds only does it for 20 minutes. When the babies are little they get tired and take ages, and now when Eve is of an age that she can happily chomp down all in one go, she gets so distracted by the lights, noises, even the cat that it is an effort to remind her that she should be attached to the boob! Apparently the logic behind much of the finding was that parents who didn't feed on demand were more likely to keep breastfeeding. Duh, of course! Feeding your child at any time of day or night when they demand it is bloody awful (see all my January posts), but that doesn't mean it isn't a sensible thing to do.
The second research is about baby bottle containing a chemical called BPA. I must confess I would know nothing about this unless my midwife centre had sent us an email telling us which bottles don't contain it. There then followed a number of emails between new Mums about the issue revealing such titbits as there being a 6 week waiting list now to get non-BPA bottles in Hong Kong, and others wondering whether to move to solids early. I must admit I went online and found that a study, done on animals, showed that if you force fed them the plastic then they got ill. I then panicked mildly until I looked out of the window. Anyone who lives in or has ever visited Hong Kong will know how dreadful the pollution is. Yes, the bottles I use are probably not best for Eve (although people have been using them for years and most kids seem fine), but in the great scheme of the pollution she will inhale, the hormones and chemicals she will ingest in her food, and if she one day takes up smoking or taking drugs - the few months she spends drinking breastmilk out of a bottle are probably the least likely to have an impact.
I downed a glass of wine and went to bed, although still with a slight nagging guilt...